The front lines of this war are well defined. On one side are those who believe in plain, unvarnished facts, rock-solid truths that can be found through reason and objectivitythat science leads to truth, for instance. Their opponents mock this idea. They see the dark forces of language, culture, power, gender, class, ideology and desireall subverting our perceptions of the world, and clouding our judgement with false notions of absolute truth. Beginning with an early skirmish in the warwhen Socrates confronted the sophists in ancient AthensBlackburn offers a penetrating look at the longstanding battle these two groups have waged, examining the philosophical battles fought by Plato, Protagoras, William James, David Hume, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, and many others, with a particularly fascinating look at Nietzsche. Among the questions Blackburn considers are: is science mere opinion, can historians understand another historical period, and indeed can one culture ever truly understand another.
Blackburn concludes that both sides have merit, and that neither has exclusive ownership of truth. What is important is that, whichever side we embrace, we should know where we stand and what is to be said for our opponents.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.90(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He was Edna J. Doury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, and from 1969 to 1990 was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is the author of The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy and the best-selling Think and Being Good, among other books.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: FAITH, BELIEF AND REASON
1. Clifford's Duties
2. Fiction and MythJames
4. Kinds of Animation
CHAPTER 2: MAN THE MEASURE
1. Turning the Tables: the Recoil Argument
2. Modern Judo
3. The Variation of Subjectives
4. The Moving Bull's-eye
5. Doing it Ourselves
CHAPTER 3: ISHMAEL'S PROBLEM AND THE DELIGHTS OF KEEPING QUIET
1. Who Tell the Tale?
2. A Gestalt Switch
3. You Tell Me, or Down with Pilate
4. Moral Relativism
5. Man the Measurer
CHAPTER 4: NIETZCHE: THE ARCH DEBUNKER
1. Facts or Interpretations?
2. Twilight of the Idols
4. Adequate Words
5. Heraclitus and the Flux
6. The Darwinian Element
CHAPTER 5: THE POSSIBILITY OF PHILOSOPHY
1. Getting Puzzled
2. Four Responses
5. Deconstructing the Issue
6. The Constructivist Corner
7. The Example of Wittgenstein
CHAPTER 6: OBSERVATION AND TRUTH: FROM LOCKE TO RORTY
1. Paradise Lost
2. First Impressions
4. Davidson's Mantle
5. Rorty's Talking World
6. Keeping our Feet on the Ground
7. Interlude: Law, Tennis, and the Coffee-house
8. A Political Message
CHAPTER 7: REALISM AS SCIENCE; REALISM ABOUT SCIENCE
1. No Miracles
2. Science Red in Tooth and Claw
3. Explaining from Within
4. Animation and Belief Again
CHAPTER 8: HISTORIANS AND OTHERS
1. Conceptual Schemes
2. Mind Reading
5. Collectives and their Histories
6. Peace Breaks Out
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Truth: A Guide by Simon BlackburnWhy I picked this book up: I was in one of the Powell¿s Books in Portland while in Oregon for a conference. First of all I LOVED Powell¿s. It was SO fun being in a huge bookstore then I found this book and went back to the Hotel and got wrapped up in it. General Thoughts: This book was great. It reminded me of a philosophy class as it walked through the thought process and its development, giving both sides its due and talking about where the arguments failed and succeeded. Why I finished this book: I finished this book because it was really fun to me. He does a very good job because he makes it so easy to grasp. He really is on his game and I¿d love to read another of his books.Rating: I¿d give it a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.
I read Blackburn¿s book Think about 3 years ago, and enjoyed his style. This was much denser, more technical, mostly concerned with theories of knowing reality, and evidence for locating truth in the world, and in the mind. I came away with an impression of a long journal article for a philosophy publication, and I am still not sure I understood the author¿s position. Does he find truth to be relative to the individual, or an absolute?